The Licensing Committee
RECOMMENDED THAT COUNCIL
Approve and adopt the revised Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy at Appendix A to the report of the Director of Housing, Health and Environmental Services with effect from 1 January 2020.
(Note: The Climate and Environment Advisory Committee made comments at its meeting on 19 November, which have been included in the attached report.)
To defer Agenda Item 8(f) (Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy) to allow for a further period of consultation and consideration, as appropriate.
The Chairman reminded Members that the Council would first deal with the petition submitted in relation to this item.
An electronic petition, with 164 e-signatures, had been received in the following terms:
“Taxi drivers reject company door sign mandatory by South Cambridgeshire District council”
A copy of the letter received with the petition and a link to the online petition had been circulated with the Council agenda.
The Chairman invited Mr Tariq Ahmed, representing the Cambridge Taxi Drivers’ Association, to present the petition.
Mr Ahmed made a number of points in support of the petition including:
· drivers felt that the requirement for company door signs favoured large taxi companies and was unfair on self-employed drivers and small companies as it restricted them from working for other companies;
· the need to change company signs on the car on busy roads gave rise to concerns for driver safety;
· having the company door sign permanently on the car made vehicles and drivers vulnerable to crime;
· drivers were losing customers and income;
· an article in the Cambridge Evening News had highlighted how the large taxi companies were threatening the livelihoods of drivers if they were found to be working for more than one firm; and
· drivers disputed that the requirement for company door signs increased public safety.
Councillor Bill Handley, the Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing, responded to the petition. He thanked Mr Ahmed and his fellow driver colleagues for their engagement in the consultation process and for presenting the petition both at Council and at the Licensing Committee on 11 November 2019. Councillor Handley explained that it was possible that the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy might be deferred for further consultation; that the engagement of Mr Ahmed and other drivers in the further consultation process would be welcomed and that the comments in the petition would be noted in that process.
Councillor Handley accordingly proposed:
“That Members note the petition and give it due consideration when considering the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy”.
The proposal was seconded by Councillor Anna Bradnam.
Council by affirmation
That Members note the petition and give it due consideration when considering the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy.
(ii) Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions
The Chairman reported that late correspondence had been received from a number of different parties concerning the new Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing policy. It had not been possible in the limited time available to carry out the necessary due diligence and to give proper consideration to the points raised within the correspondence.
The Chairman stated that he was aware that there had been extensive consultation already on the policy but that it was important that the Council continued to listen carefully to new information and to allow time for potential further consultation, should that be required.
Accordingly, the Chairman proposed:
“That consideration of agenda Item 8 (f) (Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions)) be deferred to allow time for a further period of consultation and consideration as appropriate.”
Councillor Deborah Roberts seconded the motion.
In response to comments from Members:
(a) Councillor, Anna Bradnam, the Chairman of the Licensing Committee:
· Reported that the Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, at its meeting on 19 November 2019, had made comments on the environmental and emissions related aspects of the policy and these had been included in the report circulated with the Council agenda, but confirmed that these comments had not been considered by the Licensing Committee.
· Confirmed that legal advice had been obtained and taken into account on the draft policy before Council and commented that further advice had been obtained in the light of the recent correspondence.
(b) The Chairman of the Council clarified that it was anticipated that the further consultation would be for a period of 6 weeks.
Council, by affirmation
To defer consideration of agenda Item 8(f) (Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy and Conditions) to allow for a further period of consultation and consideration, as appropriate.